Questions posed over Gan-Colombo flights

A SriLankan Airlines flight on the tarmac of Gan International Airport. (Photo/Twitter)

Opposition political parties PPM/PNC have expressed concern over the decision to cease operations of Sri Lankan Airlines between Gan, Addu City and Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Direct flights were commenced between the two cities in 2016 during the administration former President Abdulla Yameen who is the leader of PPM.

The operations were commenced to increase connectivity and travel conveniences of the south as well as to increase tourism in the region.

PPM/PNC said that the cease of operations could mean a negative impact on the tourism and economy as well as difficulties faced by the residents of the south in traveling abroad. The move means that residents of the south would have to travel to the Velana International Airport in the central region of Maldives in order to travel to Sri Lanka.

The statement by the opposition coalition also read that discussion on ceasing the operations due to losses incurred was halted when the then President Yameen pledged to make arrangements for the airline operations to continue without incurring losses.

Possible conditions for recommencement of operations

Inner Maldives, Sri Lankan’s reservations agent in the Maldives confirmed the cease in operations between Gan and Colombo.

A statement posted on Facebook by the company’s Managing Director read that the company was undecided over the commencement of operations despite the wait for the reopening of the borders.

Maldives closed its borders in late March due to COVID-19.

Firag said that the main reason for the indecision over the recommencement of operations was due to the experience gained in the last three years. The company had not observed a substantial amount of passengers for the operations between the two cities.

However, if an arrangement for the operations to be linked with the Huvadhoo Atoll (G.Dh./G.A. Atolls) could see a possible recommencement of operations, said Firag on Facebook.

Huvadhoo Atoll is one of the biggest atolls in the country both geographically and in population and currently has two domestic airports on both sides of the atoll. A third airport is expected to be open very soon. There have been talks that the airport in Kaadedhdhoo could also be turned into an international airport. Currently, the airport in Gan is the only international airport in the south of the Maldives.